Five Reads for Euro 2021 Widows/Widowers
It’s that time of international sport season again: The Euros. Whether you’ve downloaded the UEFA app on to your mobile, or you want to punch the next person you hear singing, “Football’s Coming Home,” there’s no denying it’s difficult to avoid this particular football tournament during the month of June.
Like many things in my life, I enjoy football games in moderation. This means I’m genuinely interested in The Euros and World Cup; supporting England, The Republic of Ireland and Spain. I was living in Madrid when Spain won Euro 2008 on my birthday. It was one of my highlights of living there that year. 😉 I’ve cheered for Manchester United at Old Trafford a few times (hold judgement; I’m Mancunian and my Dad and Gramps are Man United fans). I’ve also understood the offside rule since Euro ’96.
All this aside, I do not want my living room emitting a ghoulish, green, glow from a TV which is constantly showing the latest match. Given that my other half is football crazy, I am going to have to entertain myself a little more this month. So I’ve compiled a Top 5 list of Books for Football Widows/Widowers (all available here at William Shakesbeer). This is essentially a list of books either written by a European author, or set in a European country. So you can enjoy some European vibes which don’t involve football chants!
Blackberry Wine, by Joanne Harris
Set in the same French village as Chocolat, this novel weaves a touch of magic realism with mysterious, local characters and a smidge of romance. I particularly liked the ‘retro’ atmosphere of this novel; set in the late Nineties, there’s not a whisper of social media or smartphones…
House of Dreams, by Fanny Blake
Three siblings reunite in their childhood home, the Casa de Suenos, in southern Spain. Over the long weekend, family secrets are revealed and the siblings questions themselves and their choices.
Plays, by Anton Chekhov
If you fancy an international classic, then we have Plays by Russian playwright and short story author, Anton Chekhov. This collection includes, Three Sisters, The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
This crime thriller from Swedish writer Stieg Larsson needs no introductions. If you fancy something a little darker to distract you from the football, this first novel in the trilogy is set in real-life Swedish towns and villages.
Jamaica Inn, by Daphne du Maurier
When I think of Cornwall, I imagine picturesque fishing villages on turquoise blue coves; fruit scones with clotted cream. This could not be further from the truth in du Maurier’s 1936 Gothic novel, Jamaica Inn. (You can actually visit the real Jamaica Inn, on Bodmin Moor!) The wild, Cornish moors and dark, foreboding atmosphere echo scenes from Wuthering Heights. I LOVE du Maurier’s novels, and this one is so absorbing you’ll completely forget about The Euros!
I hope you find something you’ll enjoy in this literary European tour. Happy reading, folks!